What Healthcare at Home Means for DMEPOS

Published in Member Communities on December 21, 2020

What Does Healthcare at Home Mean for DMEPOS

This year has been one of the most taxing years in history for everyone. We have all been keeping safe at home, which has caused the need for DMEPOS to be even more critical. As we close out the year, it’s good to reflect really what does healthcare at home mean for our industry?

What Healthcare at Home Means for DMEPOS

Most people don’t plan to need DME items.  It is often sudden events or gradual needs that evolve that causes patients to need DME.  Patients don’t usually know what they need to make their life better at home. Our job is to ask questions about their home, who lives with them, do they have caregivers and to help them make their home a place they can live in safely and comfortably.  Making patients comfortable and safe at home can range from providing just a cane or walker, a lift chair, incontinence items or a grabber, to more complex items like oxygen and ventilators.  We have a department that goes to the home and helps assess the patient’s needs and offer them options. Our goal is to keep people healthy, safe, and happy in their homes.

          - Colleen Hunter, Browning’s Pharmacy & Health Care

I have been a part of our industry long enough to recall the initial conversations with Medicare on “supplier” vs. “provider” designation. How prophetic we were arguing we are not suppliers…that we are providers. That argument needs continued.

Our credentialled and licensed staff in various divisions of our firms such as Wound Care, Respiratory Care, Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) and Anatomical Positioning underscore the fact that we do not simply deliver a product ordered by a physician. Our educated staffs have become a valued part of the clinical team who assures the prescriber and the payor source accurate prescription specifications and patient compliance. And tracking compliance is important data that keeps patients healthy when it is safer for patients to be at home than anywhere else in our communities.

The COVID‐19 virus has illuminated the need for our industry to continue this important conversation. We ARE part of the continuum of care, our services and skilled staffs keep patients out of hospitals, out of nursing homes and out of assistive living. It gives choice to completing rehabilitation or convalesce at home where patients would much rather be, physically and emotionally. Additionally, valuable federal and insurance dollars are saved when care is provided in the home successfully.

Suppliers or Providers? I think the debate is leaning to our side!

          - Georgie Blackburn, Blackburn’s

DME and HME are terms often used by providers and it is important to understand the difference.  DME refers to the items that we, as DMEPOS providers, make available to our patients.  But the HME portion of what we do is specific to availing people the equipment needed to continue to live at home, independently and safely, within a known environment that allows them to thrive.  We offer a service component that often goes unnoticed and not funded.  Telehealth, remote patient monitoring, clinical evaluations; the list goes on.  Even now with the global pandemic, as hospitals are at full capacity and families are transitioning their loved ones out of nursing homes, we are showing that we are a vital part of the continuum of care. 

          - Debra Kalk, Reliable Medical Supply, LLC

As the year comes to a close, we want to thank each of our members for serving their patients well. This year has been challenging. Healthcare at home has become extremely important in the lives of millions of patients across the country. Your work at helping people stay in their homes rather than in a healthcare or skilled nursing facility has not gone unnoticed. We would love to hear more comments on what Healthcare at Home means to DMEPOS! What does it mean to you and your patients?

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